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Australia’s leading university-based provider of international development services, UniQuest, is helping the family of former University of Queensland associate professor, Dr Ulf Sundhaussen, share his life-long love of learning with the Secretariat for the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Associate Professor Sundhaussen passed away in July 2008. His widow, Ms Susie Shaw, approached UniQuest last December to help find a suitable ‘new home’ for his extensive collection of books relating to South East Asia. UniQuest’s Manager for Capacity Development and Strategic Change, Mr Barry Greville-Eyres, and Ms Shaw carefully catalogued hundreds of books for placement with primary beneficiaries in Queensland’s Royal United Services Institute and the ASEAN Secretariat.

UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson, said the company’s involvement with the legacy supported the relationship UniQuest has developed with ASEAN over the past decade on behalf of UQ.

“Over the past decade, UniQuest has managed various projects in the countries ASEAN represents, and this is another way UQ can contribute to the development of a region that has long-been of interest to many of the University’s academics and students,” Mr Henderson said.

Associate Professor Sundhaussen held senior academic roles within the School of Political Science and International Relations for almost 30 years, retiring in 1999. He devoted his research and teaching career to improving the western world’s understanding of the role of the military and democratisation processes in South East Asia.

With a passion for all things Indonesian, Associate Professor Sundhaussen spent the latter part of his life working, researching and building close friendships with a broad range of fellow academics, administrators and other stakeholders within that country. He published and was cited extensively; many of his papers were also translated for publication in Indonesia.

Associate Professor Sundhaussen was also passionate about the development of research students, and was renowned for being a meticulous PhD supervisor with great empathy for his students whose first language was not English and who came from a different culture.

Ms Susie Shaw supported the donation to ASEAN, with the hope that the legacy would provide resources for its members that would be otherwise unattainable. The collection includes a substantial body of knowledge on democracy, globalisation and governance as well as Indonesian and South East Asian political and military affairs spanning almost half a century. A number of publications to which Associate Professor Sundhaussen himself contributed are no longer in print, making the collection particularly valuable.

“Ulf was born in Germany just prior to the Second World War and spent most of his childhood in Berlin and Poland. His earliest memories were of his father telling or reading stories as the sun went down, providing the fertile background for his life-long love of reading and learning,” said Ms Shaw.

“He began his academic career after working for several years to support his younger brothers in post-war Europe. His fascination with Indonesian politics and the significant role played by the military led him to take up doctoral studies at Monash University in Melbourne in the late sixties, before moving to UQ and settling in Brisbane.  He was often homesick for Europe, despite having a very large network of friends here.

“People were drawn to Ulf, even strangers. He’d take an interest in the life-story of just about anyone and was always building and sharing his knowledge of human experiences. He was a born story-teller like his father, with a profound respect for the truth in the written word,” Ms Shaw said.

General Manager of UniQuest’s International Projects division, Mel Dunn, said the company was delighted to help Ms Shaw with the library bequest.

“Facilitating the transfer of Associate Professor Sundhaussen’s collection to ASEAN is really an extension of the capacity-building services we provide to such organisations on the University’s behalf,” Mr Dunn said.

“Both UniQuest and ASEAN are committed to improving regional cooperation and integration through understanding and knowledge-sharing. Such in-kind support for learning initiatives adds another dimension to UQ’s engagement with developing nations in this region.”

The Australian Government’s Agency for International Development, AusAID, is also supporting the legacy.  Australia will cover the shipment costs of the more than 160 books to the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta. The collection is expected to arrive in Jakarta later this month.